As a staple Indian dish, many think butter chicken follows a complicated recipe. However, it is a recipe that requires spices that can now be found in most grocery stores. Although this dish originates from Northern India, many people confuse it for chicken tikka masala which is not a real Indian dish. Butter chicken differs from what many know as chicken tikka masala in that it consists of a rich and buttery consistency, usually served with basmati rice or naan. In my family recipe for butter chicken, the chicken can easily be substituted for paneer (an Indian cheese found in most grocery stores) for a vegetarian version. This recipe is easy to follow, quick and delicious, giving you a burst of Northern India’s vibrant flavors in every bite. 

Photo Courtesy of


  • 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breast
  • ½ large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste 
  • ½ can of tomato sauce (ex: Hunt’s) or 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste or 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 1 tablespoon oil 
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin 
  • ½ cup water 
  • 1 cup cream or substitute for half & half 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon pepper 

Reena Khanna / Daily Nexus


  1. Cut the boneless and skinless chicken breast into 1-inch cubes and leave aside. After, in a medium-sized saucepan, add the oil and the butter until the butter is fully melted. 
  2. Next, add onions in the pan and stir on medium heat till golden brown. Add ginger and garlic, and continue stirring for a few minutes. 
  3. Add the cubed chicken into the pan and mix well, then add the tomato sauce/paste, cumin and garam masala. Let simmer over medium heat and add ½ cup of water. Partially cover the saucepan and let simmer for 10 minutes. 
  4. After, add the cream/half & half and stir well to avoid lumps. Let cook for 20 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally. 
  5. Then taste for flavor, and add salt and pepper. Serve over basmati rice or with a side of naan. 

This dish is perfect for when you’re craving authentic Indian comfort food with just the right amount of spices. My favorite thing about this recipe is that you can adjust the amount of any spice to attain the flavor your taste buds crave.